I used to think that avocados weren’t good, at all. I thought that the texture was weird, that they didn’t really taste like anything, and I had no idea how to open one! I once worked in a cafe’ where avocados were brought in by a truck, and each avocado half was vacuum-sealed in its own little plastic packet and they would slide out with a bunch of condensation. *Shudder* That didn’t make me want to try one anytime soon.
A few years ago, I met a friend at a hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant in Ann Arbor, the wonderful Tmaz Tacqueria, and I was absolutely starving. When I got to the table, my friend had a huge bowl of guacamole in front of her, and I was too hangry to think about my aversion to avocados. Two chips in, I was hooked. So fresh, so simple, so real. I finished off the guac by myself, no shame.
In my search for some healthy, non-wheat snacks to munch on after work, I came across a packet of guacamole in the store – $5 for 8 oz. Really, guys? That’s not much, especially when a whole avocado costs a dollar. I could spend the same amount of money on all of the ingredients for guacamole and end up with a ton more guac.
My first time making guacamole, I didn’t bother with looking for a recipe. I’d seen it being made a hundred times and I had a solid idea of what I was doing. I also love that you can literally see every ingredient in guacamole. Avocado, tomato, red onion, cilantro, salt. I grabbed my produce and a bag of tortilla chips and went home to whip it all up.
Like I said, guac is so simple that you don’t really need a recipe (I will provide one, calm down). The main ingredients are shown above. I used 2 avocados, 1/2 of a red onion, and 2 Roma tomatoes. I also add lime juice and a few spices to add some depth, although spices aren’t traditionally in guacamole.
I start my guacamole by cutting the avocados in half. To do this, I make an incision in the avocado, down to the heavy seed in the center. Keeping my knife in the same place, I turn the avocado so that the knife continues the cut all the way around. When I have an incision going all around the avocado, I put the knife down and use my hands to twist the avocado halves in opposite directions. They should separate easily. After I successfully have two avocado halves, I have to deal with that big-ass seed in the center.
To get rid of the seed, I very carefully whack my knife into the center of the seed so that it gets stuck. I say that I ‘whack’ my knife into the seed, because you’ll need some force to cut into the seed. But look at where you’re whacking, please! I’m sure that you enjoy having all of your fingers. With one hand holding the avocado and my knife in the other, I gently turn the knife so that the seed pulls away from the fruit. Isn’t it so weird to think of avocado as being a fruit?
To get that massive seed off of my knife, I whack the handle of my knife against the edge of the counter (or trash can, if we’re not caring about sanitation standards and want to skip a step) to knock it out. I would not suggest trying to use your hands to remove the seed from the knife, because all of that creamy goodness of the avocado makes the seed quite slippery. Again, I’m sure that you enjoy having all of your fingers.
After I have the clean halves of the avocados and have disposed of the seed, I cut a small grid into the avocado half, and scoop out the cubes with a spoon. I repeat this process with the other avocado.
Some people prefer to scoop out the whole avocado half without cutting it. I like cutting the grid into the half because it makes mashing the avocado much easier. At this point, I just went nuts with my spoon. Turning the spoon on its side and using it like a knife to break up the small cubes of avocado, squashing the avocado against the sides of the bowl, stabbing it directly, anything to break it down. This is when I add a big splash of lime juice, at least 1 tablespoon. It gives the avocado moisture and helps it come together into a nice consistency.
I squash the avocado until it has a spreadable consistency. I don’t mind some chunks of avocado, I enjoy it with the diced onion and tomato, but it’s your call on how much time you want to spend mashing. Next, I add small-diced tomatoes and red onion and fold them in. I love chopping fresh cilantro and mixing it in, but the cilantro in our grocery stores lately has been absolute crap. Womp womp. This guacamole is still delicious without cilantro though, if anyone reading has that trait on their palette that makes cilantro taste like dish soap.
Once I have all of the main ingredients mixed together, I throw in a few spices. Not a lot, because these ingredients should speak for themselves, but just a little somethin’. I add dashes of Cayenne pepper, chili powder, and a dash of cumin. I like my guac to be a little spicy. Sometimes I feel like adding a titch of garlic powder, and it ends up pretty damn delicious. I only add enough salt to bring out the clarity of the ingredients, and a sprinkle of pepper.
And then I inhale it with tortilla chips. You will too.
Recipe for Guacamole
2 Roma Tomatoes
1/2 Red Onion
Handful of cilantro, chopped, optional
1-2 Tablespoons Lime Juice
2 Teaspoons Cayenne Pepper
1 Teaspoon Chili Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Cumin
1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder, optional
1-2 Teaspoons Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Pepper
Make an incision in one of the avocados. Hold the avocado with your hand and turn it so that the knife cuts the circumference of the avocado. Using your hands, twist the two avocado halves in opposite directions and separate them. Holding the avocado half with the seed in one hand and your knife in the other, aim your knife at the large seed and hit it forcefully. The knife should be stuck in the seed. Holding the bottom of the avocado half in one hand, use your knife and gently twist to separate the seed from the fruit. Knock the handle of the knife against something sturdy to knock out the seed. Repeat with the other avocado half with the seed.
Cut a small grid into each avocado half and scoop into a large bowl with a spoon. Using the spoon, cut into the avocado cubes in the bowl and break them down as much as you like. Add the lime juice. Stir together and mash until it has reached a spreadable consistency, a little chunky is okay. Add in the diced tomatoes and red onion and gently fold in. Add spices and mix in.
Inhale with tortilla chips.